Introduction

 
Introduction
The Task
The Process
Resources
Evaluation
Credits

 

Native American Indians

A Little Background History

LONG BEFORE the white man set foot on American soil, the American Indians, or rather the Native Americans, had been living in America. When the Europeans came here, there were probably about 10 million Indians populating America north of present-day Mexico. And they had been living in America for quite some time. It is believed that the first Native Americans arrived during the last ice-age, approximately 20,000 - 30,000 years ago through a land-bridge across the Bering Sound, from northeastern Siberia into Alaska. The oldest documented Indian cultures in North America are Sandia (15000 BC), Clovis (12000 BC) and Folsom (8000 BC)

Although it is believed that the Indians originated in Asia, few if any of them came from India. The name "Indian" was first applied to them by Christopher Columbus, who believed mistakenly that the mainland and islands of America were part of the Indies, in Asia.

So, when the Europeans started to arrive in the 16th- and 17th-century they were met by Native Americans, and enthusiastically so. The Natives regarded their white-complexioned visitors as something of a marvel, not only for their outlandish dress and beards and winged ships but even more for their wonderful technology - steel knives and swords, fire-belching arquebus and cannon, mirrors, hawkbells and earrings, copper and brass kettles, and so on.

However, conflicts eventually arose. As a starter, the arriving Europeans seemed attuned to another world, they appeared to be oblivious to the rhythms and spirit of nature. Nature to the Europeans - and the Indians detected this - was something of an obstacle, even an enemy. It was also a commodity: A forest was so many board feet of timber, a beaver colony so many pelts, a herd of buffalo so many robes and tongues. Even the Indians themselves were a resource - souls ripe for the Jesuit, Dominican, or Puritan plucking.

It was the Europeans' cultural arrogance, coupled with their materialistic view of the land and its animal and plant beings, that the Indians found repellent. Europeans, in sum, were regarded as something mechanical - soulless creatures who wielded diabolically ingenious tools and weapons to accomplish mad ends.

To read more about the history of the Native American Indian visit www.nativeamericans.com. You may also want to visit http://anglais-lp.ac-rouen.fr/activites/activites_fichiers/American_Indians/americanindians_INDEX.htm

 

Now that you know a little about the history of relations between the Native American Indian and Europeans or "the White man," you are now ready to begin dividing up the tasks.

To continue to the next step, please click on the arrowhead below or on "The Task" link on the left.